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The Queen's Guard
The Queen's Guard

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Selective Desaturation II (Advanced Editing V)
Camera: Canon EOS-350D Rebel XT
Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Location: London
Date: May 17, 2007
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 800
Shutter: 1/200 second
Galleries: Candid
Date Uploaded: May 18, 2007

I wandered around London one evening (when it didn't rain) looking for anything that might work in this challenge. It's not until you look that you see everything in London is grey or red!

Editing Steps:
Convert from RAW with exposures -2, -1, 0, 1, 2
* shadow contrast +10
* saturation +41
HDR (at the suggestion of my DPL team)
Tone map
Minor Dodge/Burn
Clone out cones on road and some minor distractions
Saturation -28
"s" curve
Levels: 12, 1.04, 247
With the guards clones out
* Saturation -100
Flatten and resize to 640 (because I only have my work laptop and not all the software is installed on it so had to use the demo of Neat Image)
Neat Image
On the legs of the near guard
* blur to remove excessive noise
* Levels: 47, 1.00, 255
Lightness: Reds -13
Lightness: Blues -100
add border
Save for web

Post Challenge:
What a great result! The sky has had not dodge/burn applied to it at all. It was the usual overcast day in London and that's how it was. Now, I need to sort out a large version now that I'm back home :)

Place: 7 out of 556
Avg (all users): 6.6256
Avg (commenters): 8.1579
Avg (participants): 6.5174
Avg (non-participants): 7.0213
Views since voting: 25410
Views during voting: 348
Votes: 219
Comments: 27
Favorites: 7 (view)

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05/29/2007 07:26:32 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/29/2007 04:07:56 PM
Congratulations on a top 10 finish Gerry! :) :) :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2007 11:41:51 PM
Such an engaging image and how lovely the red looks against the stone gray! Congratulations on your top ten finish.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2007 12:55:30 PM
Greetings from the Critique Club
by strangeghost

The first three parts of this critique are written based purely on examination of your photo. "Final thoughts" is written after reviewing your score, photographer's comments, and voter comments.

My first-glance reaction to the technique is WOW. Very nice BW tones, excellent contrast, sky tones, focus, exposure seems perfect. A very clean image. You nailed the technicals. The conversion to BW was handled very well - I'd love to see what method you used. The selective desat looks perfect as well, right down to the tones of the hats, rifles and pants. Even though it looks as if you selected red only, the hats and pants stand out as well because they're the darkest regions of the photo. Excellent job! One could quibble and say that the sky looks like it may have been manipulated a bit (a little dodge/burn?) but I don't take issue with that. It's done very well and greatly compliments the dirty, sooty textures of the buildings.

I love the composition - an artistic success! The angles and lines created by the curb, street and buildings makes for a perfect vanishing point centered nearly perfectly on a third. The image is well balanced between foreground subjects and the gradually receding facades. Everything is detailed and sharp. The image provides a wealth of fodder for the wandering eye. The guards are interesting all by themselves because of that reputation for stoic indifference. Your use of desat to highlight them is just genius. Honestly, I can't find anything about the composition that I don't like.

Very well done picture, you should be proud to have made it. There is feel of isolation and desolation that is enhanced by the gray tones. Even the colorful subjects don't disturb that sense because they're almost statue-like in their indifference to their surroundings. The only problem with a picture like this is that the measly 640 pixels doesn't begin to do it justice. I long to see this image in a larger format where I could feast upon it for hours! If you don't have a print available of this yet, shame. If you don't have a 16x24 hanging on your own wall, what's wrong with you!?

You can probably guess that I'm liking this shot. It grabs and keeps my attention. It has a subtle "wow" factor that is elusive. It provokes my imagination and makes me want to look and then look more.

I'm gratified to see that this scored high, but disappointed not to see a ribbon beside it. I didn't enter or vote this challenge so I 'm not sure how strong the field was, but your shot is a winner in my book. I don't really "get" the whole tone mapping thing, and many examples I've seen in previous challenges and the forums make me less than excited about the method, but your shot proves the value of this technique.

Well done; superb photograph! Take heed on my comments about the print! I'll buy!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2007 06:55:01 AM
tone mapping does result in a very dramatic look that is appealing to DPC voters, nice job and great processing.

  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2007 01:06:35 AM
Great work Gerry, congrats on 7th place!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/28/2007 01:05:23 AM
This should have been a ribbon winner IMO. Outstanding processing and composition.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
05/27/2007 11:43:37 PM
very dream-like shot 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/25/2007 07:20:43 PM
great image. The composition MAY be better if there were a little less head room on the closer guard. But overall it's nice. Good use of color.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/25/2007 10:00:09 AM
The picture looks like a painting or drawing. Very well done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/24/2007 06:28:18 PM
Very nice. Was the sky like that or did you burn it in?
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/24/2007 01:12:42 PM
Its so wierd to see them with modern weapons and bayonettes. OK, I've stopped staring long enough to cast my vote. 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/24/2007 10:18:23 AM
Well done Ed(?). A lovely study and perfect contender for desat, that street is uncannily empty! Good luck
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/23/2007 11:11:00 AM
great perspective. perfect for selective desaturation.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/23/2007 07:53:40 AM
Really nice photo!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/22/2007 04:19:11 PM
Love the B&W treatment you gave it...great image. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/22/2007 12:51:41 PM
Now this is exactly one of those photos that benefits from this photographic style.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/22/2007 02:57:49 AM
wow, i like the perspective here and definitely good choice for desat.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 08:34:03 PM
Nicely bereft of cars - in fact that really does add value to this image. HDR processing is not too obnoxious thankfully. Just a bit. 8.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 05:31:18 PM
The selective desat actually enhances the picture - great work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 02:16:06 PM
haha love the idea. those soldiers never cease to amaze me. 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 01:57:53 PM
I like your shot and idea. The red goes great with greyscale and the subject you chose is pefecdt. Great editing and nice job.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 01:46:16 PM
do they still piss into a bag? very nice shot 9
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 10:09:11 AM
Very nice selective desaturation, makes you focus on the guards, I also like the leading lines. One thing I would try is making the B&W tones more contrasty because it is looking a little "flat" to me. Either way good shot ;), 7
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 09:49:44 AM
my pick so far
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 09:04:36 AM
nice choice for a subject here, but it's just way too over processed for my tastes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/21/2007 07:32:15 AM
Wonderful contrast here. I love this.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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